Sunday, December 25, 2022

More Planet Earth Dynamism

In recent weeks Earth residents have been reminded of many dynamic planetary events which generated not only wonder, but also discomfort and even tragedy. Volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes may rank at the top of this spectrum. Not far behind are blizzards (such as a noteworthy blizzard many US states are experiencing as I write), cold waves, heat waves, floods, and droughts. We might ask, “Is Planet Earth a place of tragedy, or a place to thrive?” The range of tragedies is very broad. Degrees of thriving also occur at different levels along a broad spectrum. Humanity may either thrive or experience tragedy depending on how he responds to ever-present natural hazards.    

Weather observers on Planet Earth have published references to Hawaiian volcanoes since late November 2022: Mauna Loa had just awakened to activity. Since then, volcanic activity has diminished, but other dynamic earth processes have been active. For example, an earthquake in California recently generated concern for residents of that state. A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked a region of Northern California. In late September 2022 powerful Hurricane Ian struck South Florida, crossing the peninsula from west to east. It claimed 146 lives in the state as the strongest hurricane since the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. Florida residents are still in “clean-up” mode. In mid- December the southern US coped with several tornadoes in five states. Our planet has been rocked by similar disasters since Old Testament times and long before. 

The Apostle Paul described what was probably a hurricane in Acts 27:14 while his ship was caught in a tempestuous wind while sailing by the island of Crete. Job’s children perished in a “great wind,” probably a tornado, from across the wilderness (Job 1:19). Job 36-37 describes a variety of weather events: whirlwinds, lightning, thunder, mighty downpours, snow, and ice. The OT books of Amos and Zechariah specifically mention a historic earthquake in the days of Uzziah. Of course, even Christ himself referenced the Mesopotamian flood as did the authors of Hebrews and Peter. Verses in Psalm 104:32 and Psalm144:5 suggest “smoking mountains,” probably volcanoes. as works of God. Other Bible passages characterize our Creator as the author of many mighty natural wonders.  

What scientific laws governed and still govern these planetary phenomena? Answer: There are at least two laws—the Law of Entropy, and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The laws are related, but they do not mean exactly the same thing. The 2nd law states that energy only flows from high states of energy to lower states of energy. For instance, a container of hot water left in a cold room will always cool to the temperature of the room—never the other way around. There are many examples from the standpoint of organization or order in physical systems. In this example the Law of Entropy quantifies heat flow in recognizable scientific units to affirm that physical systems always tends toward more, not less disorder. In other words, entropy (disorder) increases. The 2nd Law speaks of the natural tendency of physical systems to run downhill.

In the world of planetary geologic and meteorological phenomena there is a wealth of knowledge where we can apply the principles of entropy and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. The term thermodynamics applies to the relationships between heat and other forms of energy. When God created the Heavens and the Earth (Gen. 1:1) He also established physical laws governing our planet. Such laws control weather, geologic processes, and all physical systems originated by the Creator. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics produces some outcomes that Earth residents find unpleasant. Examples are listed in our first paragraph.

Our Planet Earth has existed for millions of years as a solid celestial body. The history of Planet Earth clearly indicates that geologic and meteorological processes have provided desirable volcanic recycling and beneficial water recycling events still prevalent on Earth to this day. These processes and many others allow life to exist and thrive on our unique planet.

Are these ancient processes in keeping with the will of The Creator? Our response is an unequivocal, “Yes.” According to Genesis 1-2 God pronounced His creation “good or very good” on six different occasions. The 2nd Law is the foundation of a marvelous divine physical operating system. Our Creator designed our planetary operating systems for the ultimate benefit of humanity. Generally, humanity thrives on our planet. This planet, however, is not our permanent, eternal home—a topic more appropriately addressed by theologians.     


Sunday, December 11, 2022

Dynamic Volcanic Wonders

 In our last post we discussed YouTubes where we access almost unlimited information on the wonders of animal life on our planet. In this post we highlight another recent planetary phenomenon—the regular onset of dynamic volcanism occurring in our 50th state, Hawaii. In recent weeks Mauna Loa has awakened from one of its frequent rest states. It is periodically active as are many Hawaiian volcanoes.

In one of our early posts we spoke about “Dynamic Planet Earth.” Linked below is our 2008 post:

In the above post we referred to volcanoes as an example of Earth’s dynamic processes. The term dynamic conveys forceful, powerful, and energetic. In the past few weeks, news of a recent volcano eruption on the Big Island of Hawaii has been widely publicized. We searched for YouTube entries and research articles on Hawaiian volcanoes and volcanoes in general. The Hawaiian Islands were formed by a succession of undersea volcanic eruptions. The archipelago was formed within a huge tectonic plate, the Pacific Plate, an irregular-shaped chunk of the Earth’s crust sliding horizontally over a “hot spot.” The moving crust resembled a “conveyor belt” as it received intermittent surges of molten magma rising from hot spots far beneath the surface in the rock mantle. The Hawaiian Islands archipelago originated in this manner over a few million years.

Shortly after the mid-20th century, theorists proposed that crustal plates migrated over  layers of the rock mantle. This idea was described initially as “continental drift” and later became known as “plate tectonics.” Alfred Wegener in the early 20th century first proposed the revolutionary idea that sections of Earth’s crust moved slowly over the planetary surface. At the time he did not fully understand what caused sections of our planet’s continents to “drift.”

In the 1960s I first became aware of the nascent theory of plate tectonics—a proposal that has gained more credibility over the decades. Tectonic is a Greek word related to building. One image of our planet’s surface may be described as a group of reassembled, ancient building blocks. The blocks have slowly moved across the Earth’s surface only a few centimeters per year. Evidence from ancient fossil deposits and magnetism (paleomagnetism) preserved in the rocks give clues of an exceedingly complex and ancient process.  

Our contemporary belief in plate tectonics demonstrates how science knowledge has proliferated. Plate tectonics phenomena are on a par with revolutionary discoveries in many fields of historic science. There are many historic discoveries, including early knowledge of plate tectonics introduced in the 1960s. Many discoveries utilized past knowledge to discover and apply new knowledge. 

Plate tectonics is one example. Ideas about convection currents had been proposed for several hundred years. Convection currents occur in gases and liquids owing to unequal heating. Convection currents also occur slowly in solids such as the Earth’s rock mantle. They produce mantle plumes of hot magma. Convection is one of the three primary means of heat travel. Moving molecules cycle heat energy from warm regions to cooler regions. 

    Mantle convection and plate tectonics provide a general framework for understanding tectonic physics. Transport of heat from the interior of the earth drives solid state convection. Plate tectonics is a direct consequence of this convection.

(Sciencedirect article, 2003)

Decay of radioactive elements in Earth’s mantle supplies most of the heat necessary to drive convection in the solid mantle. Volcanoes at Earth’s surface ultimately benefit all humanity. Apart from some disastrous effects of volcanism (humans are gifted with wisdom to avoid the harmful effects of volcanism), these dynamic events have occurred for millions of years on Planet Earth. Volcanic events produce beneficial soil fertility and hundreds of mineral resources for our modern burgeoning population. 80% of Earth’s surface is volcanic in origin.

God has created Earth for the ultimate benefit of humanity. Dynamic events such as volcanoes are evidence of our planet’s beneficial recycling mechanisms. In Holy Scripture we discover many examples of the Creator’s wisdom, power, and providence. “Now therefore, our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name.” I Chroncles 29:13 (NKJV).




Saturday, November 26, 2022

YouTubes and Youth Faith

 Our unusual blog title needs explanation. YouTube users watch billions of hours of YouTubes each day. YouTube is a video-sharing website which can be accessed by computers and mobile phones. YouTube contents range widely from nature and wildlife  to advertising, music, sports, travel, science, and an abundance of other subjects.

Some senior citizens hardly understand what modern social media platforms are, not to mention what they can accomplish. Social media platforms are a mixed blessing. Who can fault or criticize our ready access to information? We live in the ‘information age.’ However, much of this information is beneficial or useful in our modern day. YouTube is the second most common website on the internet, second only to Google.

This blogger has utilized a desirable social media venue which helps my grandson exult in various forms of wildlife. When his father needs uninterrupted quality time to complete online graduate work, he drops his son off at our house. Our 5-year old grandson has completed the ‘dinosaur stage’ of his interest. Currently he is fascinated with living creatures inhabiting our planet - snakes, lizards, cheetahs, sharks, and spiders, to name a few. YouTube videos to the rescue! He often enters our home with the words, “You know what I want to see.” Yes, we know what he wants to see. The Google search feature quickly accesses multiple video events from our natural world. Talented photographers feature action shots of animals and insects on the hunt for food to sustain their existence. Inter-species animal fights are part of the normal course of events in our natural world. They are preludes to food acquisition. Some nature lovers find this trait disturbing. 

To the contrary, animal predation is not beyond the creative wisdom of God expressed in the Old Testament Book of Job. In Chapter 38, the Lord inquires of Job “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the ravens when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:39-41 NIV)

When I remind my grandson of the intricate beauty of nature’s designed features and marvelous functionality, even at his age it is not difficult for him to understand such traits could not have designed themselves. It took a Master Designer to produce these features. The Master Designer is the God of Creation! Usually a single YouTube feature on animals highlights only a single species of 1.7 million classified living species. Millions more species have been divinely created but remain unclassified.

The YouTube videos feature masterful close-up and distant photography of wildlife. My grandson has learned to appreciate the intricate design features of many animals and plants. One commentator remarked that YouTube is not merely part of social media but also a social media behemoth. Secular YouTube videos highlight the wonders of the natural world and offer strong intuitional support for belief in God’s existence and creative power. Below we link two past blog posts in which we discussed various ways Christian parents may promote God-awareness even in our young children.

“The Bible teaches that God created animals. They aren’t the product of fortuitous natural processes any more than humans are. Genesis 1:24-25 says that God created the animals, from the beasts of the field to the creeping insects. Scripture even tells us that the breath of life resides within them. (Gen. 7:15).” (Barrett Duke writing in a Montana Southern Baptist Convention publication: 10 Biblical truths about animals.) 

Our God experienced joy in creating all things (Genesis 1:31a NIV). Our trust is in the Living God “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (I Timothy 6:17b). 

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Wokeism, Science, and Faith

 Among words that first appear and become popular in our society are words that currently engender scorn or repulsion. The term “woke” may have started as a praiseworthy description but is now used insultingly as language and culture constantly evolve. The terms woke or wokeism fall into the latter category. We will discuss wokeism later in this post as it links to abortion and transgenderism. 

Several social issues earn a wide spectrum of approval or disapproval. The first term, abortion, has been discussed tirelessly using the same means of persuasion. Advocates for abortion—the termination and removal of embryonic or fetal life in the womb—repeatedly use the same arguments. For example, abortion proponents relentlessly reference “a woman’s right to choose.” Another phrase popular in our culture is “My body, my choice!”

The first phrase uses the words choose or choice to cast abortion in a favorable light. When women are characterized as having the right to choose, some are impressed with the positive flavor of the argument. After all, we make voting choices as citizens of a democracy including voting in national elections every other year. Grammatically, the verb “choose” in the expression “woman’s right to choose” is an intransitive verbThe right to choose what? It does not have an object. Do we have the right to choose to end the life of another person, including an undeveloped embryo or fetus?

Many books have been written on the subject of human rights. Famous documents such as the US Constitution and even the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) discuss human rights. Our Creator bestows human rights in the sense that He created all things. God imparts rights to humans because He created our physiological existence. A fundamental right is not a right to practice abortion, but rather, the right to preserve our physiological existence—life itself. The practice of abortion is, therefore, contrary to our God-given inalienable rights.

With respect to abortion, many proponents cast abortion not only as a right, but also as a desirable women’s health practice. In the face of the horror of the abortion procedure, it is inconceivable that this issue has become foremost in the political campaigns of many US politicians and party members. In the face of the scientific evidence for the wonder of genetics and our current knowledge of prenatal development, the wokeism supporting the concept of abortion is painfully out of place in our society. We should remind our fellow citizens about the inspirational and instructive scripture in Psalm 139: “…For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well; My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance…” vv 13-16a (ESV)

Another social issue our society currently wrestles with is the woke endorsement of 

transgenderism toward which a startling number of political leaders and ordinary citizens have become aggressively supportive. In addition, some professional medical organizations have become highly supportive of gender confused and gender variant persons and the medical treatments offered. According to Scripture, there is no reason to contemplate the validity of the transgender phenomenon. Genesis 1:27 states: God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (ESV). (See also Genesis 5:2 and Matthew 19:4-6.) Scripture offers instruction on matters of gender and its creation in the mind of God.

The transgender and gender incongruence issue is even more complex than the abortion issue because it relates to choices made by post-natal or mature humans. In contrast, abortion affects innocent pre-born human subjects whose existence depends upon the tender care provided by a human “caretaker.” Most Christians find the issues of abortion and transgenderism disturbing and shocking. 

Wokeism challenges science in the area of abortion and transgenderism. Scientific truth is not affirmed by abortionists who remove embryonic and fetal tissue in the womb call the tissues “the products of conception.” Embryonic and fetal life and its development is a miracle of the Creator. Likewise, human gender originates in the mind of God.

Our blog posts have promoted the subject of science as it affirms faith and belief in the God of Creation. Popular exhortation to “Follow the Science” has become “a cultural mantra.” A quotation by Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, illustrates the misuse of the “Follow the Science” mantra: “The science is clear: the current restrictions on (medical abortion medication) are medically unnecessary. For two decades, restrictions have only created additional barriers for patients seeking abortion care. It is critical that the FDA follow the science and lean into facts to ensure that all people can access a safe and legal abortion without obstacles.” 

Our posts have promoted real and true science as it supports scriptural faith. There are many examples of fake and pseudo-science. Let us ask God for wisdom to recognize true science and understand true scriptural faith.    



Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Reprise of Autumn

 The familiar query “What is your favorite season?” rings out once more over our land. Perhaps the question is more often asked during autumn than in any other season. Autumn is a personal favorite season for this blogger, but spring wins the day for 36% of the populace. Autumn was second with 27% when the question was last posed by Gallup in 2005. Scripture has many references to all four seasons. The wonders of seasonal variation described in Scripture provide many lessons — devotional, descriptive, and explanatory.

The Eastern Iowa countryside where we recently took residence is currently alive with features of the autumn harvest. The corn and soybeans have dried down and will be harvested before long. It is easy to exult in a passage such as Acts 14:17: “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” (NIV)

Alert, perceptive residents notice many fascinating outcomes of the approach of autumn. When the baseball playoffs and World Series arrive shadows are cast on the playing field in unfamiliar configurations. The angle of the sun at noon from the horizon is always highest as the sun traces a great circle on the ecliptic each day. This is termed solar noon. It diminishes from June 22 to December 22—from about 72 degrees in June to 49 degrees in September to 26 degrees in December. (These figures relate to conditions at about 41 degrees N. latitude, a latitude where I resided in my last six residences.) These facts could provoke curiosity from our young baseball fans. It is visually difficult for players to pass from sunlight to shadow.

Diminished sun angles link with shortened day lengths, lengthened nighttime, later sunrises, earlier sunsets, and gradually falling temperatures during autumn harvest season. Linked below is a past blog post where we discussed these phenomena in more detail:

An early post mentioned other fascinating autumn manifestations including autumn color, animal behavior, a reminder of natural cycles, and thanksgiving for God’s providence:

Another post reinforces our thankfulness and wonder at the average 55 degree temperature drop during the year at 41 degree N. lat., our allure at the “land of the midnight sun,” and our sense of wonder at the Creator’s plan who supplied for us all things to enjoy.

We reminded readers of the Earth’s axial tilt of 23.5 degrees, a key to understanding the beneficial conditions on this planet. We quoted the well known verse in Genesis 8:22: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (NIV):

Finally, what if the earth had no seasons at all? Life on Planet Earth would be barely recognizable. The presence of seasons is vital in sustaining our enormous population of 8 billion souls. We suggest readers thank the Heavenly Father for designing Planet Earth to possess seasons. Our lives depend on this fact.



Monday, September 26, 2022

It's Supposed to be Hot

 The Creator of All Things has provided both short term individual weather events and long term climate conditions for the benefit of humanity. Divinely created weather and climate conditions support our agricultural bounty and provide us with a highly enjoyable physical environment. Intuitionally, we perceive Earth’s just-right atmospheric composition and highly precise planetary temperature range to be but two examples of divinely fine-tuned Intelligent Design on this planet. But this is just the ‘beginning of the story.’  Our astronomical summer just concluded in North America was notable because of its unusual heat. Climate always changes as does our weather.

Weather is defined as the condition of the atmosphere over short periods of time.  Are we experiencing rain, fog, wind, warmth, clouds, or any of a host of other weather conditions such as drought? Climate is defined as the condition of earth’s atmosphere over long time periods. These two terms are often confused. Today’s young people may be told by their grandparents that the they were obliged to hike to school in deep snowdrifts. Such tales may be exaggerations, or they may signal that climate has actually changed somewhat over the last few decades.

Many analysts blame ‘climate change’ for extended hot spells, droughts, floods, or other significant weather events. Weather scientists, journalists and politicians blame our apparently warming planet on emissions such as CO2 from burning of fossil fuels—coal, petroleum, and natural gas. They claim the world is in the throes of a climate crisis. They claim we must ameliorate the crisis with draconian measures such as purchasing only electric vehicles in place of internal combustion vehicles or cutting back on applications of fertilizer. Nitrogen fertilizer is most often produced by burning natural gas, ultimately generating CO2 as a waste product. The US congress recently passed a bill with $357 billion designated to finance climate change measures.

The science of climatology is far more complex than indicated by most articles headlining undesirable, unwelcome weather phenomena. While increasing CO2 concentrations have been shown to have some effect on Planet Earth’s atmospheric warming, there are many other natural causes of warming not well publicized or understood by activists who advocate for sudden, harsh national solutions.

El Nino is an ocean phenomenon where ocean surface water in the Pacific becomes warmer. It results from diminished speed of east to west trade winds north of the equator. Temperature and rainfall amounts around the globe are disrupted. A related phenomenon is La Nina, where the effects are generally the opposite of El Nino. Animal and plant life in the oceans and on land also responds to these changing conditions. It is not unusual for journalists to attribute unusual weather phenomena to climate change. But what is the actual meaning of such claims? Writers often claim tornadoes, hurricanes, heat waves, droughts, or flooding are becoming more severe. Historical statistics do not generally affirm this fact as we review hundreds or thousands of years of climate records.

Earth residents have just emerged from a brutal hot summer in the US, a horrendous flood in Pakistan, a drought in Europe, a destructive hurricane in Puerto Rico which continued up the east coast and caused extensive damage in Canadian Maritime Provinces, and other local meteorologic disasters around the world. Weather scientists have analyzed the reasons for these harsh weather events, including the above-mentioned El Nino and La Nina phenomena, heat domes, and ubiquitous meandering jet streams. Climatologists skilfully present natural explanations for these heartbreaking events. We do not deny that climate change has occurred with the less often repeated caveat that climate always changes.

Nearly a century ago the United States was in the throes of the nearly decade-long Dust Bowl of the 1930s. I personally recall my uncles recounting the horrors of animal and grain farming in Oklahoma and Kansas during that historic period. Temperatures spiked way beyond the current several tenths of a degree average rises. Reporting on the recent Pakistan flooding, Time’s “Spotlight Story” of 9/16/22 insightfully claimed multiple causative factors: “There are many ingredients to the still ongoing humanitarian crisis — some meteorological, some economic, some societal, some historic and construction oriented.” The 1930s Dust Bowl was linked to but not totally caused by imprudent agricultural practices by farmers in southwest US. Many planetary flooding events are exacerbated by human population explosions in flood prone areas. Recall: World population is eight times greater in 2022 than in 1800.

A popular 2011 article by NOAA could serve as a required reading primer for today’s meteorology students. It reminds us of the many divine wonders of our intelligently designed weather system. Here is the opening paragraph:

 “Imagine our weather if Earth were completely motionless, had a flat, dry landscape and an untilted axis. This of course is not the case; if it were the weather would be very different. The local weather that impacts our daily lives results from large global patterns in the atmosphere caused by the interactions of solar radiation, Earth’s large ocean, diverse landscapes, and motion in space.”

Holy Scripture conveys similar feelings of wonder for our planet’s weather environment. Our world’s weather and climate systems are miracles of intricate intelligent design. The Bible promotes admiration, wonder, and awe for diverse weather events, violent and non-violent, harmful and beneficial. All types of weather inspire God’s people to ascribe glory to the God of Creation.   



Thursday, September 8, 2022

21st Century Energy Crisis

 In the 1970s the US suffered from the first international energy crisis. It began partly as a political action by Arab States in response to the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel. Of course, the US favored Israel. The war triggered the Arab oil embargo. The embargo resulted in an artificial supply disruption but there was no genuine scarcity of fossil fuels. The Arab states had long desired to control the international oil market. The effects of the the 1973-74 energy crisis linger in the memory of everyone alive at the time. I recall several personally impactful effects…

In January 1974 I was a public school teacher required to welcome students to their classroom in pitch darkness. Between January 6, 1974 and April 27, 1975 daylight savings time (DST) was reimposed as an energy saving measure to conserve electricity during high demand late afternoon hours. A lower national speed limit was imposed along with odd-even day ‘rationing’ at gasoline stations. Crude oil prices jumped several hundred percent. Gasoline prices quickly rose to $1/gal. A second crisis occurred in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. This crisis was not as serious as the one in 1973-74, but it illustrates how vulnerable the world is even to minor fuel disruptions. Now we have a similar situation owing to the Russian prime minister’s limitation of natural gas and oil exports to Europe. We might call this the “Russian energy embargo of 2022.”

To avoid the perception that our current series of posts has become too political, we remind readers that our Science/Faith blog theme is relevant to our current discussion of energy. God has authored the reality that energy sustains human existence. He also established the physical truth that energy can be converted from one form to another. Scientists describe these convertible forms of energy—heat, light, motion, electrical, chemical, and gravitational. Our timeless God created ancient forests and other life forms giving rise to fossil fuels and minerals we extract today in enormous quantities from below the surface of our planet. In our day these fuels supply energy for the world population approaching 8 billion. 

Energy is defined as “the ability to do work.” Earliest humanity was commanded to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26b). In Gen 1:28, they were also counseled to “…fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion”…(over the living things.) In a broader sense, Adam and Eve and their many descendants have worked and used energy to modify and control their environment for thousands of years to build human civilization.

In the 21st century we have arrived at a pivotal time in US history. Powerful political forces are pushing our society to quickly transition from non-renewable fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. These powerful forces are intensely idealogical. Huge financial resources are being legislated by our governments. In the $737 billion “Inflation Reduction Act” passed on August 16, 2022, Congress allocated $369 billion for climate change initiatives. This provides money for solar panels, wind power, electric cars, energy storage, and many other climate and clean energy initiatives, including generous tax credits.

We are not adamantly opposed to the use of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar generated electricity. Neither are we ignorant of our responsibility to care wisely for our environment. However, the transition to renewable energy should be judiciously implemented. In our day about 20% of our energy needs are satisfied by renewables. Energy demand is projected to rise by 2050. Will our world be able to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources before mid-21st century? We must guard against an overly optimistic view of the promise of renewable energy. Our view is that renewable energy such as wind and solar is not ‘ready for prime time.’ Many analysts advocate a sharp decrease in fossil fuel consumption. As a result Europe is threatened with an energy crisis which could become a fertilizer crisis and ultimately a serious food supply crisis. In addition, during the winter, residents will be much more concerned with global cooling than global warming. (We will all need additional layers of warm clothing.) Cutbacks in coal consumption have reduced availability of electricity in the power grid—many people may soon be unable to recharge their electric vehicles in any type of weather, especially during rolling blackouts. 

Under the threat of electrical blackouts from failures in the power grid, many analysts may call for a revival of fossil fuels such as coal, and increases in natural gas and oil production. As I write, the recently installed British prime minister has plans to reverse restrictions on fracking. Apart from draconian mandates by politicians, there is still a plentiful supply of coal, natural gas, and petroleum waiting to be recovered. 

During the 1973 energy crisis, Robert G. Anderson, writing for the FEE (Foundation for Economic Education) stated, “The present ‘energy crisis’ stems not from a problem of economic scarcity, but instead from non-market forces which are interfering with free market prices, and thus causing shortages to develop. The problem of economic scarcity is present in nearly every situation of our lives. We are not in an ‘energy crisis’ now because energy is scarce, but rather because there is a ‘shortage’ of it. Shortages are inconceivable in a free market structure; but they do occur whenever free market methods are abandoned.”  

We recommend our readers devote some quality time researching the 21st Century Energy Crisis. It may become an overwhelming world crisis. They will discover a trove of information often obscured by ideological optimism among our current population of climate activists. May we all pray to our Heavenly Father and diligently ask Him for wisdom to make good choices.        


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Rapid Renewable Rollout?

 The  well-known scripture in Genesis 1:26-28 contains a divine mandate from the Creator relating to humanity’s well-being in several spheres of experience. The twice-used term dominion implies man’s intelligent control over divinely created animals. God extended the discussion to human food supply. By extension, we may include food supply (verse 29) as it relates to agricultural practices, both then and now. In the past several years, world food supply has become an important concern. 

In studying our current energy crisis, we discovered several relevant quotes relating to the speed at which governments are forcing our society to move toward renewable energy sources: “A rapid, large-scale energy transition creates extra demands for energy services. This demand will compete with other economic activity…..This new modeling suggests a significant decline in availability of energy services during the transition phase…..(the) economy is significantly impacted during the transition to the massive renewables roll-out.” (energypost article) Energy crises can result from many other causes in the chain of cause/effect, including artificially constricted fuel supplies, abnormal weather events, unusual depletion or overproduction of fuel supplies, and lack of energy infrastructure.

We cite two recent phenomena which at least partially resulted from the rapid transition to renewables from non-renewable fossil fuels. February 2021 provided an unusual, but not unprecedented severe cold spell in Texas. Many thermal power plants failed during the storm. Fossil fuel supply was inadequate to meet the unusual demand. Wind turbines froze or were unreliable. This served to illustrate the unpredictability of wind and solar power, since the wind does not always blow predictably and the sun does not always shine. An enlightened policy must continue to rely on plentiful fossil fuels, unencumbered by politically driven restrictions on drilling and delivery systems. Over 200 people died from the lack of adequate heat, water, food, and electricity during the severe 2021 cold event.

The other case we cite involves the production of inorganic fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizer production is necessary for high levels of food production demanded from our world’s agricultural sector by our burgeoning world population. The vital element nitrogen must be combined with other elements to manufacture inorganic fertilizer. In the early 20th century several brilliant scientists developed a means of combining unreactive atmospheric nitrogen gas with hydrogen gas to form ammonia gas—NH3. From ammonia, several other chemical steps are necessary to form, ultimately, ammonium nitrate fertilizer and other valuable end products. The level of food production from world agriculture would be impossible today without inorganic fertilizers. Some sources claim that without crop yields made possible by ammonia-based fertilizers and chemicals, the global population would be at least two to three billion less than it is today. If this startling fact is true, we may all agree on the desirability of inorganic fertilizers which have increased agricultural production levels several times since mid-20th century.

Some world nations are also pressing forward with their requirement to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use, because it requires burning fossil fuels which produce CO2 when they are ignited. In addition, inorganic fertilizers containing nitrogen compounds release nitrous oxide, also a greenhouse gas. By phasing out fossil fuels and phasing in renewable energy, nations are able to achieve their ultimate ‘carbon free’ goal. But those leaders should contemplate the risk of going ‘carbon free’ in terms of generating national hunger and devastating inflation.

A few nations (Netherlands is the prime example) may be heading for environmental and political turmoil. The Netherlands is the second largest agricultural food exporter in the world, second only to the United States. With the Russian/Ukrainian war in progress, agricultural food is already compromised in terms of world supply. The Dutch government has dictated that nitrogen emissions be cut up to 70%. Much nitrogen fertilizer must be phased out. This will result in a severe loss in agricultural production. Dutch government authorities, in an effort to maintain high ESG scores (Environmental, Social and Governance scores) are tasked with dictating which farmers must discontinue their farming operations to maintain elevated ESG scores. Food shortages and inflation are in prospect. Sri Lanka, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, is experiencing runaway inflation and other political woes, because they have focused on phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertilizers. A similar dilemma is playing out in African Ghana.

In our contemporary time frame, many governments may mandate the transition to renewable fuels too quickly. Some transitions to renewable energy sources may be desirable, but not at the cost of causing hunger, chaos, and turmoil among our world’s nations. Society’s shift to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels is not feasible in terms of many projections that fossil fuel energy will still be necessary for the next few decades by our societies.

Elements related to fossil fuel consumption—carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and other less common elements combine with each other in thousands of ways to form both useful and harmful compounds. Our Creator has gifted humanity with applied science skills. We offer our prayers to the chemical technicians who discover ways to handle both useful and harmful byproducts of fossil fuel consumption. This includes the prudent use of nitrogen fertilizers. Perhaps the sudden, expensive transition to renewable fuels and electric vehicles would be unnecessary!

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright…..” Proverbs 2:6-7 ESV 


Friday, August 12, 2022

Green Light for Renewables

 Our last blog post proposed that our world “runs on” energy. The topic has many vital dimensions. It is is one of the most politically charged of our day. Currently we must deal with the challenges of energy production, not only for our time, but inevitably for our future. Those born in the 21st century will be alive in 2050. Some will achieve young adulthood. Others will look forward to achieving late/middle age. Many authorities state that by 2050 our society MUST transition entirely to renewables such as wind, water, and solar power. Fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas will generally be remembered as a phenomenon of the past.

Today’s inflation phenomenon has been substantially ‘fueled’ by our current energy policy. Our government has reduced the former level of petroleum drilling, and closed pipeline access. This caused a modest disruption in the supply chain for this vitally important energy commodity. In spite of our administration’s assertion that domestic oil production is higher than in the previous presidency, this claim has proven to be false owing to statistical manipulations. It is actually lower by one million barrels per day. The delicate supply/demand balance has been disrupted with the result that gasoline ballooned to US $5.00/gal. on average. Our president beseeched Saudi Arabia to pump more oil to rescue the US from dangerous inflation. Saudi Arabia declined.

President Biden promised to wean America from fossil fuels while campaigning for president in 2020. He also said, “No more coal plants.” The ideological obsession with the transition from fossil (non-renewable) fuels to renewable fuels (wind and solar) may not be achievable by 2050. It will be a serious challenge to both secular science and our personal faith to devise methods of decarbonizing the entire physical economy by 2050. Christians should pray that scientists will devise effective technologies to cope with CO2 emissions and convert them to harmless or beneficial substances.    


Energy sources have transitioned several times throughout human history. Animal and human power was the source of energy in early times. Early humans discovered fire for cooking and heating. Wood was the most reliable fuel. Throughout human history quantities of some fossil fuels such as coal were discovered and utilized. Natural gas was known in China in ancient times. Metal production relied on coal. Since the onset of the famous Industrial Revolution, energy consumption has not only proportionately matched the meteoric rise in human population, but also exceeded it substantially.

Planet Earth’s first billion population did not occur until about 1800. Human population has increased explosively in the past century. It now approaches 8 billion. Technological innovations of the first, second, and third Industrial Revolutions have produced an intense demand for energy, but the demand has not increased in proportion to population increase—it is proportionately far higher. In the US today, 81% of our energy is still supplied by fossil fuels. Worldwide, 80-85% of energy needs is supplied by fossil fuels, matching the US fossil fuel consumption. In the optimistic goal of the Paris Climate Accord of 2015, world countries commit to the goal of holding world temperature increases to 1.5 degrees C, and ideally not more than 2.0 degrees C. According to Paris Climate Accord officials, the transition to renewable energy (wind and solar, for example) from non-renewable fossil energy (coal, oil, and natural gas) must become a national commitment in order to avoid dangerous climate warming.


God provided ancient energy resources for the use of modern man in contemporary times. Today’s fossil fuels originated in the mind of God when he caused tropical forests to grow during the carboniferous geological periods, (Mississippian and Pennsylvanian—359 mya to 299 mya). Today’s fossil fuels had their beginnings in thick tangles of vegetative swamps. Ironically, in analyzing the modern concept of “carbon as a polluter” voiced even by the US Supreme Court in 2007, scientists may study the distant past ages and reference the Carboniferous geologic era.

For an enlarged perspective, we reprint two relevant statements from our previous post of 7/26/2022 (Non-renewable to Renewable Energy—Easy or Difficult?):

“Life on Earth is carbon-based life. It comprises nearly half of all biomass…..At present, 80% of our global energy production comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These resources are known as fossil fuels, because they are residual remains of living things that existed on our planet millions of years ago.”        

Intense planetary heat and the enormous weight of overlying rock layers resulted in chemical changes producing today’s coal, petroleum, and natural gas. The timeless Creator of All Things also divinely supervised the formation of thousands of other resources on which our modern technological society depends. For example, there are at least 4400 mineral species, many of which supply modern industry with raw materials for the needs of today’s society. Ubiquitous bacteria have played a significant role in forming these mineral resources.

The timeless Creator of Genesis 1-3 has provisioned our planet with its energy and material needs. They were in place in Earth’s rock layers when humanity first inhabited Earth. We ask God to give us wisdom as we make the difficult transition to renewable energy. In upcoming blog posts we will discuss how difficult the transition may be. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Non-renewable to Renewable Energy---Easy or Difficult?

 In one sense, the world “runs” on energy. In the US, the industrial and transportation sectors consume almost two-thirds of the energy produced. Could modern society live without industrial production and transportation? Energy is produced primarily from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas. This means that natural geological processes are no longer producing these fuels. There is a limited supply of fossil fuels still remaining on Planet Earth. But even at the current rate of use, there are still enough fossil fuels to supply the US with its energy needs for many years.

In our present day, there is a major political movement urging transition to “clean energy.” Fossil fuels, when consumed in order to produce heat energy and subsequently electric energy and other energy forms, generate carbon dioxide (CO2). The element carbon, vital in ALL life processes, has acquired a bad reputation. According to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision handed down in 2007, the EPA was empowered to declare CO2 a pollutant, in order to enable the agency to regulate its release into the environment. But in June 2022 SCOTUS effectively reversed their 2007 decision (6-3), stating that the EPA must now be guided by the US congress to make such rulings. 

We may ask—Who is opposed to the production of “clean energy?” This question entails much confusion and complexity in our time. There is a powerful movement in the US and throughout the world to eliminate fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas from our energy production practices and transition to alternate energy technologies such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. Use of solar, wind, and hydropower does not produce CO2. Therefore, since no carbon from CO2 is generated, the energy is declared “clean.” Many politicians state we must completely wean ourselves of fossil fuels in our effort to become “carbon free”—an important catch phrase of our day. For many citizens the impetus to achieve carbon “net-zero” has become ideologically overpowering. Basically, the term signifies achievement of a balance between carbon emitted into the atmosphere and carbon removed. The concept has connotations involving every phase of modern life, including the home, transportation, agriculture, and industry.

A brief aside: The element carbon is one of the most vital and beneficial elements in human experience. Following is a paragraph from one of our many past posts involving the element carbon: 

“Life on earth is carbon-based life. It comprises nearly half of all biomass. The human body is over 18% carbon. It is the fourth most abundant element in the universe, behind hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. While recognizing that CO2 is a greenhouse gas contributing to slight warming of our atmosphere in recent times, we have been researching the effects of increased CO2 and the results of atmospheric warming resulting from it. In general, we decry the fear engendered by the idea that CO2 is a pollutant. Concepts such as “carbon footprints” still dominate the journalistic landscape. The footprints are difficult to define, explain, and regulate.” (from 4-17-19 JAS post)

At present, 80% of our global energy production comes from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. These resources are known as fossil fuels, because they are residual remains of living things that existed on our planet millions of years ago. Burning of these fuels releases carbon in the form of CO2 into the atmosphere. CO2 is a “greenhouse gas.” Scientists liken Earth’s atmosphere to a greenhouse which permits heat from the sun to pass through the greenhouse glass easily but prevents heat from easily returning back through the glass and into the air. Air inside the greenhouse becomes warm and remains warm. In a similar way, the atmosphere acts like greenhouse glass. It traps long wave infrared energy (heat) within the atmosphere. Some CO2 warming is clearly a benefit to mankind, but ongoing warming of the earth’s atmosphere could become excessive. Planet Earth’s temperature has been slowly rising since the end of the “Little Ice Age” in mid 19th century. Earth residents debate how much our current “climate change” (global warming) affects us adversely. Climate change has also achieved a negative reputation in some quarters, but historically, climate change is also beneficial. (Individual weather events may not always be beneficial—some may be tragic.)

Do most current Earth residents believe the God of Creation is responsible for the existence of fossil fuels for “such a time as this?” In divine wisdom, God foreknew the energy needs of humanity in the 20th and 21st century and created lignin and cellulose-rich forests which crashed to the ground in dense swamps during the carboniferous period. If these forests had appeared millions of years later during another geologic period, bacteria would have consumed the remains of these forests before they were buried under sediment and transformed chemically by enormous heat and pressure under earth’s surface. There would be no fossil fuels—coal, crude oil, and natural gas—to be extracted from today’s Planet Earth!

Today we recognize the reality that humanity must ultimately be forced to consider an alternate source of energy. A major question remains: How soon must this change be accomplished? This is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity. In the years following the Industrial Revolution, fossil fuels have contributed mightily to a population explosion—from one billion in 1800 to 7.9 billion in 2022—a stunning explosion!

Will our current society be as patient transitioning to renewable energy and away from non-renewable energy as they were switching to fossil fuels following the Industrial Revolution? Many environmental activists advocate switching completely to renewables by 2030, or by 2050 at the latest. Personal research reveals that early moves in this direction are already causing near-catastrophic outcomes in terms of inflation and generating agricultural crises. May our God guide government officials during this energy transition. It is a topic for additional blog posts.